Water Bottles For Long Distance Running

I guess you are here because you would like to find more info about water bottles for long distance running. I am a 5 times marathon finisher, I run 50+ half marathons and did countless long runs for training. I am also an avid advocate for hydration. But let me be straight to you upfront: running with a water bottle in hand s*cks.

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More experienced long distance runners tried to convince me to forget about running with a water bottle. I guess I needed to learn from my own mistakes. You do you. If I tried it again, I would probably give one of these a go:

Best Water Bottle For Marathon Running

The Product Specifics

When I researched the products, I checked these features for each bottle:

  • Capacity: enough between refills
  • Dimensions: the smaller and narrower the better
  • Weight: the lighter the better
  • Style: designed specifically for handheld carrying

I also considered the price and the customer ratings on Amazon.com. Please, scroll down for the details!

How To Carry Water During Marathon

To be completely honest, if it’s an organized event, my “how to carry a water bottle while running” strategy would be: no way. There are usually refreshment stations every 5k or so with water and sports drinks and whatnot. If you are well-hydrated before your marathon, these pit stops offer enough refueling, I believe.

If you don’t trust the stations or there’s none where you run, I would say the best way to carry water during a marathon would be a product I don’t have to think about during those 26.2 miles.

I mean, if we are talking specifically about a water bottle for a marathon: imagine you are in the comfort of your home and have a water bottle in your hand – for hours. Just the thought of it makes my hand numb. Trust me, it’s equally uncomfortable while you run. Well, it’s more uncomfortable, to be completely honest. You can easily lose your focus when you experience discomfort. So, if you think about running a long distance with a water bottle in hand, try a lightweight one that doesn’t require you to grip strongly.

How To Carry Water on Long Runs

If you want to keep your hands completely free, instead of a water bottle, you should rather search for a hydration belt or hydration vest. They can definitely make a long run safer and provide you with enough water. Also, it’s wise to try finding natural water sources on your selected route in advance (google or ask around if it’s an unfamiliar place), and always have some money in your pocket (I usually put it in a waterproof little plastic bag, so the bills are not melting in sweat).

In case you stick to the original idea, there’s another thing to keep in mind when you are looking for a water bottle for long distance runing. It’s all good while the bottle is full or empty; but you won’t just carry it around or drink the whole amount at once, right? So, even if it’s the best water bottle for long runs, the liquid will shake in the flask, likely making an annoying sound and causing an irritating sensation. I still have no clue how to avoid it, if anyone has any wisdom, please share it in the comments!

No doubt, water is the most common and essential fluid for hydration, but I wanted to mention what else you can consider possibly carrying for your run. It’s always good to give any hydration (or nutrition) option a try before an important run (I intentionally do not call it “race” ’cause it’s not necessarily a formal, timed event) to see how your body responds, it’s definitely not a one size fits all type of thing.

Hydration For Long Distance Running

Infused water for a bit of flavor. You can try infusing water with lemon, lime, berries, slices of cucumber, or my personal favorite: mint leaves.

Sports drinks that contain sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and carbohydrates. They can help replace the electrolytes lost through sweat and provide some energy during a long run.

Electrolyte drinks are lighter-tasting alternatives to sports drinks. They specifically focus on providing electrolytes without the added sugars.

Coconut water is another great, natural source of potassium and other electrolytes. Just try to make sure to choose varieties without added sugars or flavors.

Diluted fruit juices or fruit purees with no added sugars can be beneficial due to their natural fruit sugars and some electrolytes.

OK, now let’s take another look at the water containers I found and see if any of them qualifies in your book as

The Best Water Bottle For Long Distance Running

TOP PICK: Nathan Handheld ExoShot

Nathan ExoDraw & ExoShot 2.0 Flask, Handheld Water Bottle for Marathons, Hiking, Ultra Running & Outdoor Activity
  • SIMPLE HYDRATION: Our ExoDraw & ExoShot Flasks...
  • NATURALLY COMFORTABLE: Look, no hands! Feel...
  • AN EASY MULTIPURPOSE ESSENTIAL: Our water bottle...

Capacity: 14 oz / 420 mililiters. I would instead plan my route wisely, refill stations included, rather than carry around a large (heavy) amount of liquid.

Size: 5.91 x 5.91 x 9.84 inches, nicely fits the hand. Also, it easily folds and stashes away in a training belt or hydration vest once the bottle is empty.

Weight: It’s lightweight, 2.08 ounces, plus the liquid in it.

Style: It has an ergonomically designed hand strap with breathable wicking mesh under the hand position. It can provide either a superior grip or grip-free comfort.

RUNNER UP: TRIWONDER Soft Flask Collapsible

TRIWONDER Handheld Water Bottle for Running, Quick Grip Chill 17 oz Handheld Soft Water Bottle with Hand Strap Hydration Pack, BPA Sport Soft Flask (Black)
  • ✅ SAFETY PROMISE -- 100% BPA and PVC Free,...
  • ✅ SPACE-SAVING -- The soft flask is compact with...
  • ✅ EASY DRINK -- Light squeeze offer ample...

Capacity: 500 ml. It’s probably the most I’d carry (it’s around 1.1 pounds extra).

Size: ‎3.15 x 3.15 x 9.84 inches. Slightly smaller than the Nathan, and also collapsible.

Weight: 1.16 ounces but don’t forget about the weight of the water.

Style: The flask comes in an ultra-light handhold bag that is designed to carry necessities like your phone, wallet, keys, etc. That can actually come really handy!

ON A BUDGET: Precision Training Hand Bottle

Precision Training Hand Water Bottle 580ml, K-REY-TR601
  • Pop-up top
  • BPA-Free
  • Precision brandmark on bottle

Capacity: 580 milliliters. That’s slightly over my limit but that’s what I could find for a limited budget (under $10).

Size: smaller than 12.01 x 4.92 x 1.5 inches (which is its package size). It’s a plastic bottle, keeps its shape, so you have to carry it in your hand from start to finish.

Weight: 0.22 pounds plus the weight of 580 milliliters of water (around 1.27 pounds more).

Style: It’s designed to have space for each finger on the handle. But it’s a “rubbery plastic” thing, so a lot less comfy than a lightweight foldable flask.

My personal conclusion is: if I can avoid running with a water bottle in my hand, I would rather do that. But if I must have a bottle, I would go for a product that is the least pain in my … hand during the run.

Go! And Cheers!

Featured image credit:
Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

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